James Patterson is perhaps the second best-selling author in the history of publishing. (J.K. Rowling is, after all, richer than the queen.) He is best known for his crime thrillers such as the Alex Cross series. But he is also a force in children's books with his Maximum Ride series and I Funny and I Even Funnier (with Chris Grabenstein), among other titles.
Last fall James announced that he was giving away $1 million of his own money to support independent bookstores.
Wow, we thought, How cool is that!
His only stipulations appeared to be that the bookstore was a viable business and that it had a children's section. (Little Shop of Stories is, after nearly nine years, finally viable, and we do indeed have a lot of children's books.)
To request a grant all we had to do was send in a letter of no more than one page.
Little Shop does a good number of bookfairs at schools in and around Decatur -- some as far away as north Fulton. Several years ago we thought it would be great if we could afford a pickup truck to haul books. As we also send a good many authors out on school visits, the idea gradually morphed into a bus. Then to getting a little old school bus and then converting it into some kind of bookmobile.
So that was our request. It was going to happen eventually, but it would happen a lot sooner with his help.
This morning James Patterson publicly announced the distribution of the first wave of grants -- 55 bookstores (and one regional organization of bookstores) will be receiving a total of $267,000.
And Little Shop of Stories is on the list!
The check came yesterday. There are no stipulations. There are no strings attached.
So ... we're buying a bus. We have absolutely no idea what we're doing, but we'll figure it out.